eelvis (eelvis)
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Next time your child asks you if Santa really exists, here's what you
tell them:

There are approximately two billion children (persons under 18) in the
world. However, since Santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu,
Jewish or Buddhist (except maybe in Japan) religions, this reduces the
workload for Christmas night to 15% of the total, or 378 million
(according to the Population Reference Bureau.) At an average (census)
rate of 3.5 children per household, that come to 108 million homes
presuming that there is at least one good child in each.

Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the
different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels
east to west (which seems logical.) This works out to 967.7 visits per
second. This is to say that for each Christian household with a good
child, Santa has around 1/1000th of a second to park the sleigh, hop
out, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining
presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left for him, go
back up the chimney, jump into the sleigh, and get on to the next house.
Assuming that each of these 108 million stops is evenly distributed
around the earth (which, of course we know to be false, but will accept
for the purposes of our calculations), we are now talking about 0.78
miles per household; a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting
bathroom stops or breaks. This means Santa's sleigh is moving at 650
miles per second - 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of
comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, moves
at a poky 27.4 miles per second, and a conventional reindeer can run (at
best) 15 miles per hour.

The payload of the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming
that each child gets nothing more than a medium sized Lego set (two
pounds), the sleigh is carrying over 500 thousand tons, not counting
Santa himself. On land, a conventional reindeer can pull no more than
300 pounds. Even granting that the "flying" reindeer could pull ten
times the normal amount, the job can't be done with eight or even nine
of them - Santa would need 360,000 of them. This increases the payload,
not counting the weight of the sleigh, another 54,000 tons, or roughly
seven times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth (the ship, not the

600,000 tons travelling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air
- this would heat up the reindeer in the same fashion as a spacecraft
re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer would
absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second each. In short they
would burst into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer
behind them and creating deafening sonic booms in their wake. The
entire reindeer team would be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a
second, or right about he time Santa reached the fifth house on his
trip. Not that it matters, however, since Santa, as a result of
accelerating from a dead stop to 650 miles per second in .001 seconds,
would be subjected to acceleration forces of 17,500 g's. A 250 pound
Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of the
sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force, instantly crushing his bones and
organs and reducing him to a quivering blob of pink goo.

Therefore, if Santa did exist, he's dead now.
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2001-12-21 -04:00
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